Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) won the 7.1-km prologue time trial and so is the first leader of the 2006 Tour de France.

The Norwegian sprinter beat George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) by just a few hundredths of a second, while Dave Zabriskie (CSC) was third at four seconds.

Spain?s Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d?Epargne) was best overall Tour contender in fifth place at four seconds.

David Millar finished 17th, 14 seconds slower than Hushovd in his first race since the end of his two year ban.

Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis) beat him by a second to finish 16th.

Millar said after his ride: ? I?m not disappointed, I?m pleased I?m here, that?s the important thing. It?s a dream to be back at the Tour.?

Wiggins was pleased with his ride despite some pre-race nerves.

“I’m pleased with my performance and I’m glad it’s all over. The enormity of the Tour didn’t hit me until an hour before the start. I didn’t think I’d be nervous but I had butterflies in my stomach on the start ramp and my legs were like jelly for the first half of the course. I felt better on the second half and made up lots of time.”

Hushovd was stunned to have won and pulled on the first yellow jersey of the Tour.

“I’m surprised I won. I didn’t dare to dream of this scenario. I was fifth in the 2004 prologue but today I’ve gone past my limits on the bike,” he said.

He said he would try and defend the yellow jersey.

“We’ll defend the yellow jersey for as long as possible. It’d be perfect if a break goes away during the first stage so the Quick Step and Davitamon team have to chase. Then if there’s a sprint between me, Boonen and McEwen, we?ll see who is the fastest. I haven’t sprinted against Boonen yet this year but I’m confident of doing well.”

Sunday’s first road stage is a 184.5km loop around Strasbourg.